How'd streetcar handle Opening Day crowd?

CINCINNATI -- A large crowd of fans had already lined up outside Great American Ball Park's gates before Cincinnati's streetcar could even begin running, but that didn't prevent an observable boost in ridership on Opening Day.

The streetcar delayed service Monday to accommodate the Opening Day parade, which overlaps and crosses the streetcar tracks at various points along the 3.6-mile route connecting The Banks, Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

Cincinnati police gave the all clear shortly after 3:30 p.m., about 40 minutes prior to the game's scheduled 4:10 start time.

Despite what GABP officials said was record attendance at Monday's home opener, it wasn't standing room only on the streetcar like it has been for other Downtown and OTR events such as Oktoberfest at The Banks or January's Women's March at Washington Park. Oktoberfest saw the second-most rides in a single weekend since the streetcar's launch two weeks prior. It trails only the streetcar's opening weekend.

Heavy crowds of pedestrians flooded from Downtown to The Banks after the parade concluded, before the streetcar had a chance to begin running.

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The delay in resuming service was a result of the time required to re-energize the streetcar's electric cables, along with other factors that might cause obstruction on the tracks, according to Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority spokesperson, Brandy Jones.

But ridership was steady in the short interim between service resuming and the game's start, with only a few empty seats at any given time.

Reds fans wait for the Cincinnati streetcar following Reds Opening Day at Great American Ball Park. (Pat LaFleur/WCPO)

After the game, ridership was slightly heavier than before as fans flowed out of Great American Ball Park.

Issues typical of busy days Downtown reared their heads once service began.

There were a few delays due to traffic: The Fountain Square stop stated on its display that the streetcar would arrive in 14 minutes, but it was closer to 20 -- and it read the streetcar was 4 minutes away for about 5 minutes. Then again, Walnut Street is a known congestion point for all types of traffic.

Transdev -- the firm hired to oversee streetcar operations -- put three of the city's five streetcar vehicles into service.

Another issue was specific to the streetcar's stop at The Banks: An influx in Uber pick-up requests coming from The Banks meant a few drivers used the streetcar lane -- designated for streetcar vehicles only -- to pick up passengers.

Probably most frustrated, though, were drivers trying to navigate the numerous street closures during and immediately following the parade. The closures unsurprisingly caused some mild gridlock on streets like Fourth and Elm in Downtown, but meant stand-still traffic along those thoroughfares.

Ridership estimates for Opening Day were not immediately available.

Pat LaFleur reports on transportation for WCPO. Connect with him on Twitter (@pat_laFleur).

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